As you ride from the airport to Marsa Alam, gazing out the sparkling blue waters of the Red Sea on one side, at the mountains and vast deserts on the other,you could be thinking that this unique destination only offer a simple choice between swimming or relaxing by the beach or pool.
However, you can do far more. For those who want to do something every day of their stay we highlight the most remarkable experiences you can get during your next visit:
EXPLORE UTOPIA HOUSE REEF
A great beach spot, Utopia Beach Club is blessed with an abundance of stunning dive sites within easy reach. Taking a shore entry, you can experience the best that the Red Sea has to offer and still be home on time for a sundowner drink at the Diver’s Bar.
The northern and southern House Reefs, both dive and snorkeling sites accessible directly from the hotel beach. Maximum depth 30m+, easy diving for beginners, an abundance of fish and marine life (watch a video created by a loyal hotel guests).
You may also take a Zodiac to Shaab El Kenz, a dive site about 5 minutes north, a real treasure with stunning coral and reef formations. Or book a full day boat trip with two dives, with food on board and visit international dive and marine life sites such as Erg Monika/Erg Lassal pinnacles, Marsa Mubarak, Serib Kebir, Maheleg, Sharm Fughani and Sharm Tachtani
You are more likely to encounter playful spinner dolphins and manta rays. This is one of the world’s most likely places you will be able to get up close to and swim with dolphins. This is such fun, so life affirming and interesting.
DISCOVER THE SAHARA DESERTS
Ever fancied a desert safari on a quad bike? It looks fun when you watch a group race off across the desert, leaving a trail of dust behind them and believe me it’s much better to be part of it. But, before you go, shed all your best clothes and anything that might be endangered on a bumpy and very dusty ride. Consider using sunglasses and a head scarf which helps to protect your face from the sun and dust. Or if you fancy a slower but quieter pace go for a camel safari. Don’t forget to have your camera ready for the dramatic sun sets dropping down below the rugged mountain horizon. Then, on the way back you can enjoy the truly magnificent night skies.
If you want to strike fast and deep into the Sahara to explore the mountain valleys, how about a jeep safari? Don’t forget to pack a lunch box and plenty of drinks.
You may also want to visit a Bedouin villages or travel to Wadi Hammamat to view the ancient rock inscriptions and mines that run along the dry river valley that once formed part of a trading route which connected Luxor via the Silk Route to Asia.
Alternatively, you might want to explore the amazing landscapes and wildlife of the Gebel Elba National Park which lies 250km south of Marsa Alam between the small town of Berenice and Egypt’s border with Sudan. The area is also the homeland of the Bashari pastoral nomads. They live in semi-circular wooden structures patched over with hides and cloth and are renowned for their skill as desert trackers and camel breeders.
Otherwise, most of the above safaris can be arranged via the hotel’s reception. Remember these places are remote so always take a professional guide with you.
A RETAIL THERAPY AT EL QUSEIR
Now it’s time for a day shopping in the historic city of El Quseir with its’ Ottoman fort and many small shops and bazars? It’s just a short drive away ‘30 minutes to from Utopia Beach Club’.
Once you’ve got there we recommend that you explore the sixteenth century Ottoman fort which was occupied by the French in 1799, under Napoleon, who fortified it with the cannons which you see on the ramparts. Despite these, it was seized by the British a few years later.
Afterwards, if you still have time, wander down to the small port, bordered by shuttered and balconied houses. It may look modest but it has a long history; Queen Hatshepsut launched her campaign against the legendary “Land of Punt” (possibly Ethiopia) from here. Centuries later, after the Arab conquest, it remained the largest port on the Red Sea and until the 1840s it was the port of choice for pilgrims travelling from North Africa to Mecca.
A NIGHT TO REMEMBER IN PORT GHALEB
How about a night out at Port Ghalib marina? This brand-new development project is 30-minute drive south of Utopia is soon to be one of the biggest marinas on the Red Sea with its many bistros, International restaurants, bars and discos. Limousine and driver can be arranged through hotel reception too.
VISIT THE CAPITAL OF ANCIENT EGYPT ‘LUXOR’
You are only few hours driving from the most famous capital of the ancient world ‘Thebes’ or Luxor as it has become known now. If you are an early riser (or even better if you can afford an overnight trip) then this excursion can be well worth the effort.
Luxor has the world’s largest number of ancient temples and historic monuments that it is virtually one enormous open air museum of Pharaonic Egypt. But it also has more to offer. Here you can engage with local Egyptian town life, watch the public markets from the comfort of a roadside cafe or drift down the Nile in a felucca enjoying the cool breeze of the late afternoon as the sun sets.
Trip to visit ‘Cairo’ can be arranged for you and your beloved ones, this is your chance to to see the Great Pyramids of Giza and Sakkara among many other famous sites and diverse cultures.
Utopia Beach Club also organize plenty of in-house activities. You still can join in various pool games, watch a comedy act in the hotel theatre and if you want to impress your friends on your return how about looking for interesting souvenirs in the adjacent shops. If you still think something is still missing, what about a visit to our health club. Pamper yourself with a beauty or massage program or just chill out in the sauna.
Wish you a delightful journey to the Red Sea!